Andrea Nguyen's Spicy Cabbage and Peanut Slaw Should Be on Your Memorial Day Menu

"The vegetables are really the star, [and] it tastes fabulously bold," says the James Beard Award winner, who features this recipe in her new cookbook Ever-Green Vietnamese

Jennifer Causey
Jennifer Causey

James Beard Award winner Andrea Nguyen took inspiration from Vietnamese chicken salad to create her "fabulously bold" vegetarian option.

"I love Vietnamese chicken salad, which is spicy and slaw-ish with cabbage, herbs, peanuts and fried shallots, all tossed in a tangy dressing," says the author of new cookbook Ever-Green Vietnamese. "I wondered what it would be like to replace the chicken with king trumpet mushroom which, when sliced and seared, turn slithery rich to mimic poultry."

The result "is full of bright, zippy flavors and textural pops," says the chef. "The vegetables are really the star, [and] it tastes fabulously bold."

To make it ahead for a Memorial Day barbecue, prep, and store the vegetables and dressing separately in the fridge, says Nguyen. Let it all sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, and then combine before serving.

Andrea Nguyen's Spicy Cabbage, Peanut & Mushroom Slaw

1 small garlic clove

1 (2-in.) small fresh serrano chile or red Thai chile, unseeded and chopped

½ tsp. granulated sugar

¼ tsp. plus ⅛ tsp. fine sea salt, divided

3½ Tbsp. rice vinegar

1½ Tbsp. fish sauce

¼ cup thinly sliced red onion or shallot (from 1 [8-oz.] onion)

3 Tbsp. unsalted roasted peanuts

1 (9-oz.) pkg. fresh medium-size king trumpet mushrooms

1 Tbsp. canola oil or peanut oil

3 cups thinly sliced green or purple cabbage (from 1 [4-lb.] cabbage)

1 small carrot, shredded on large holes of a box grater (about ¼ cup)

¼ cup chopped fresh mint or cilantro

3 Tbsp. fried onions or shallots (from 1 [16-oz.] container)

1. Using a mortar and pestle, mash garlic, chile, sugar, teaspoon of the salt and garlic together until a fragrant, slightly sticky paste forms, 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a small bowl; stir in vinegar and fish sauce.

2. Rinse onion slices in a fine mesh strainer under cold water, about 10 seconds. Shake to drain well; stir onion into vinegar mixture.

3. Add peanuts to mortar; pound using pestle until coarsely crushed. Set aside.

4. Cut mushrooms in half lengthwise, and slice diagonally into 2-inch-long, ¼-inch-thick pieces (about 3 cups sliced). Heat oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium until oil ripples. Add mushrooms and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer mushrooms to a large bowl; let cool completely.

5. Add cabbage, carrot, mint and crushed peanuts to mushrooms. Pour onion-dressing mixture over cabbage; toss until combined and cabbage softens slightly, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large platter. Sprinkle with fried onions; serve immediately.

Serves: 4
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

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